Friday, 27 May 2016

Knowsley Council refusing Freedom of Information requests.

I have made a number of FOI requests to Knowsley Council over the last few years. But recently, this Council seem to be making up their own reasons for refusal, charging exorbitant amounts of money to supply simple information and simply contradicting themselves to suit whatever their agenda is.

£34 an hour charge

My FOI request for information about the local plan. Knowsley Council said it would take 20 hours work, at a rate of £34 per hour, a total of £680. Nice work if you can get it.


An FOI request for information about 'Knowsley Youth Mutual', the company that delivers youth services on behalf of Knowsley Council, and which is 85% funded by Knowsley Council, and is made up of 'previous employees' of Knowsley Council.

The Council refused the request by giving this very contradictory response:

"Knowsley Youth Mutual is a public benefit company jointly run and owned by the former staff and youth so is not a public authority and therefore its activities are not subject to the statutory provisions set out under the Freedom of Information Act. I am not aware of any provision that as they receive funding from the Council, this places the Council “under a legal obligation to supply the requested information” so can you please point me to this obligation so that I can consider this matter further.

You may wish to direct your request to Knowsley Youth Mutual, although as they are not a public benefit company they are under no legal obligation to provide this detail. If you would like me to forward your request to KYM for their consideration please advise."

So, KYM are a public benefit company when delivering services on behalf of the Council, BUT, they are NOT a public benefit company if you want information about them.

CCTV Information - EXEMPT

The Council got rid of CCTV that covered the shopping areas in Huyton village, but they still have CCTV cameras on and inside their own buildings. So, I asked, "what are the current annual costs of the 'existing resources' that are used in monitoring all of the Council's CCTV cameras?

The Council's response:

"Having considered what information we hold in relation to your request I am advising that some/or all of your request may be subject to an exemption.

S43 Commercial Interests

We are allowed additional time in which to consider these exemptions and you will receive a further response once a decision has been made. You will receive a response by 22 June 2016."

So, there you go, if you want to know about how your money was spent on the Local Plan, Youth services or CCTV cameras, well, erm, you can't, because Knowsley Council say so.

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